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Bebop Spoken There

Mundell Lowe: “...we also had to play for a floor show, which consisted of girls dancing--some of 'em were dressed, some of 'em were not so dressed.” – (Crescendo September 1974).

Brew Moore: "I played so many strip joints I was 21 before I saw a naked woman from the front." - (Downbeat July 24, 1969).

Number 24

Bebop Spoken Here is currently listed at number 24 (-2) in the WORLD JAZZ BLOG Rankings!

Today Thursday June 22

Afternoon
Vieux Carré Jazzmen - The Holystone, Whitley Rd., Holystone, Newcastle (ish) NE27 0DA. 1pm. Free.
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Evening.
Group Theory - Jazz Café. 25 Pink Lane, Newcastle NE1 5DW. 8:00pm. £6 (£5 in advance) - DUBB past and present members.
Gabriele Heller Quartet - The Globe, 11 Railway St., Newcastle NE4 7AD. 8:00pm. £5.
Maine St. Jazzmen - Potters Wheel, Sunniside, Gateshead NE16 5EE. 8:30pm. 0191 4888068.
Juggernaut Love Band - Bar Loco, 22 Leazes Park Rd., Newcastle NE1 4PG. 8pm. Free.
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Tees Hot Club w. Richie Emmerson (tenor); Donna Hewitt (alto); Graham Thompson (keys) - Dorman's, Oxford Rd., Middlesbrough. 9pm. Free.
New Orleans Preservation Jazz Band - The Oxbridge, Oxbridge Lane, Stockton on Tees. 8:30pm.
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To the best of our knowledge, details of the above events are correct but may be subject to alteration.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

CD Review: Kris Allen - BELOVED

Kris Allen (Alto/ Soprano); Frank Kozyra (Tenor) Luques Curtis (Bass) Jonathan Barber (Drums).
(Review Steve T)
Another good album, another quartet album, another album sans piano, another album it's hard to envisage a buyer for.
Another review with a comparison to a famous Miles Davis album. It occurs to me that if Lance has a centre of gravity based on Bird and Diz, mine must be Miles and Trane. This leaves me wondering who you would pair with Satch or Duke; any pearls anyone?
Kris Allen plays some soprano but mostly alto; he's paired on the frontline with tenor player Frank Kozyra and, like Cannonball and Trane on Kind of Blue, they play low and high on the register respectively, meaning it's sometimes difficult for the layperson to distinguish between the two. This troubled me for years until I found out it was quite common, though I'm now told I should be able to tell by the differing styles of the two men - don't you just love them!

Kris Allen was encouraged to use a piano-less group after hearing the Branford Marsallis Trio, and the inspiration for the two saxes came from Kenny Garrett and Joe Henderson, and Dave Liebman and Steve Grossman. 
The openness of this format allows 'extra wiggle room' for the two saxes who harmonise, shadow each other and improvise simultaneously, meaning soloing is sometimes concurrent.  
There is also counterpoint and countermelody and the interplay between the two is exemplary, so a possible market could be horn players, though I can't help thinking at times it's like an academic exercise.
There's a fine bass solo on Bird Bailey, and a fine drum solo closing Lord Help My Unbelief which leads into Flores, described as 'an American quasi-Latin nonspecific Cuban groove', with propulsive drumming spurring on the most dynamic solos of the set.
By far the greatest influence on Kris Allen is Jackie McLean with whom he studied and under whom he now teaches, and One for Rory, for his daughter, could have been One for Jackie or even One for Charles, sounding like a leftover from Ah Hum. (Yes discographers, I've checked and McLean didn't feature on that particular album, though he was an important element of the Mingus sound in the fifties).
The album picks up pace again for Hate the Game which is almost bebop but only the final track, Threequel follows a straight 'head, solo, solo, trades, head' format.
Would I buy it? Probably not if it meant ordering on the line, but I would go and see them live, and if they were as good as this, I'd buy it then, so maybe we might see them on tour.

Steve T.

3 comments :

  1. OK I'll have a stab at my own question, see if I get it so infuriatingly wrong, somebody feels the need to help me out.
    Duke: Mingus, on the basis that they are the two great Jazz composers ( in the traditional sense ); Count Basie, though I suspect he would think of Basie as more Swing, Big Band, showbiz, compared to himself being 'beyond category'.
    Satch: Coleman Hawkins, who did for the sax wahat Louis did for the trumpet; a giant without a doubt but hardly the stature of Satchmo, Duke, Bird or Miles.
    The only other solution I could think of is putting the two together which makes a nice tidy Armstrong, Ellington, Parker, Gillespie, Davis and Coltrane and I suspect few could argue with that?

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  2. Ok Steven, at the risk of being obvious, surely Billy Strayhorn was Ellington's alto ego? Or are we thinking of Duke and Sweet Pea as one? In that case Mingus maybe fills the bill.
    Satchmo? He stood head and shoulders, we're told, above his fellow trumpet players and the only musician of comparable stature was the young Earl Hines in the 1920s and the older Earl Hines in the 1950s. Also Jack Teagarden, in his own way as much an innovator on trombone (and vocal) as Louis was on trumpet.
    Hawkins was a giant's giant! Whereas Louis had Oliver, Keppard, Bolden and, no doubt, other New Orleans trumpet players to forge his style upon. Hawkins, more or less, made the tenor saxophone the voice of small group jazz of the '30s. To say that Hawkins was hardly of the stature of the other names you mention is perhaps disrespectful to the man who brought the saxophone to such prominence.

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  3. It certainly wasn't my intention to disrespect Hawkins who I acknowledged as a giant, though I don't necessarily think that him being first makes him 'better' (whatever that means) than Lester Young, Ben Webster or later saxophone giants.
    I think where we disagree is on Armstrong who I don't think of as just a trumpeter in the same way that I don't think of Duke Ellington as just a pianist.
    Some Jazz artists transcend Jazz like Curtis and Marvin transcend soul and Zappa and Hendrix transcend rock. Some people think Bob Marley transcends reggae and the Beatles transcend pop but I'm not one of them.
    In his (auto)biography Miles describes Duke as the King of Jazz and Mingus, Cecil Taylor and Archie Shepp refer to him as maestro. Many of that generation thought Satch was a joke because of all that grinning for whitey, and when I started getting serious about Jazz in the early eighties, Louis was a joke, Duke was passé and Bird was King. Miles was still alive which is never a good career move for a musician.
    At that time the BBC used to cover Montreux and a commentator observed there were probably more people in London listening to Grover Washington Jnr than any other Jazz musician.
    Almost fourty years and the death of Miles later and there are probably more people in London listening to Miles Davis than every other Jazz musician put together.
    The recent list of the top 10 Jazz artists and a similar list produced at the end of the last millennium had 5 male Jazz artists in common: Satch, Duke, Bird, Miles and Trane. I can't help thinking that Trane is on the list, partly because he's relatively recent, but largely because we are in the age of Miles and, had we still been in the age of Bird, it would have been Diz. What I was trying to ascertain was, had we still been in the age of Duke, or of Satch, who would have been their Trane or Diz.
    I have a T shirt which I wear for clever stuff like Durham Uni, Lit and Phil and Ushaw which names 20 great Jazz artists. Even though I rate Trane as second only to Miles in Jazz, it still infuriates me that he, and not Ellington, is highlighted among the most prominent four.
    I'm also angered that Coleman Hawkins isn't featured although Ornette Coleman isn't either making me think it's to avoid confusion; so much for clever stuff.
    I'm also annoyed that we get Evans (presumably Bill though I would prefer Gil), Brubeck, Getz and Goodman (presumably Benny though I would prefer Jerry) and no Mulligan, Zawinul, McLaughlin or Corea.
    Incidentally, Lester Young and Wayne Shorter are also missing.

    ReplyDelete

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About this blog - contact details.

Bebop Spoken Here -- Here, being the north-east of England -- centred in the blues heartland of Newcastle and reaching down to the Tees Delta and looking upwards to the Land of the Kilt.
Not a very original title, I know; not even an accurate one as my taste, whilst centred around the music of Bird and Diz, extends in many directions and I listen to everything from King Oliver to Chick Corea and beyond. Not forgetting the Great American Songbook the contents of which has provided the inspiration for much great jazz and quality popular singing for round about a century.
The idea of this blog is for you to share your thoughts and pass on your comments on discs, gigs, jazz - music in general. If you've been to a gig/concert or heard a CD that knocked you sideways please share your views with us. Tell us about your favourites, your memories, your dislikes.
Lance (Who wishes it to be known that he is not responsible for postings other than his own and that he's not always responsible for them.)
Contact: lanceliddle@gmail.com I look forward to hearing from you.

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